Signs of Breakthrough in the Palestinian Territories

  • 4 November 2007

Whatever the outcome of the meeting which took place recently between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a few leaders of Hamas, the event itself was an important development, especially in the context of existing tensions between Fatah and Hamas. It was the first meeting at this level between the two movements, since Hamas forcibly took control of Gaza Strip in June, which led to serious repercussions at more than one level. This meeting helped in preventing greater escalation of the Hamas and Fatah standoff, especially after a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip recently called for seizing control of the West Bank.

Moreover, the meeting was held in the backdrop of recently reported attempts at mediation by various Arab parties to bring about reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. This means that one can hope of a breakthrough in talks between the most important parties on the Palestinian front. Finally, Fatah and Hamas meeting has taken place at the outset of the “peace conference” to be held in the United States, which has necessitated a Palestinian internal agreement.

The meeting took place unofficially between Abu Mazen and some leaders of the Hamas movements. At the end of the parleys, the Palestinian president said that he stood by his old position and refused to hold any formal dialogue with Hamas. However, this does not lessen the importance of such a meeting, as it reflects the mutual concern for the dangerous situation facing the Palestinian issue that necessitates dialogue among Palestinian forces, especially now that Israel is presenting a distorted view of the agreements related to the legal rights of Palestinians.
An Israeli spokesman confirmed his government’s rejection of the aforementioned meeting between Fatah and Hamas, and warned Hamas to stay out of the matter. This should be sufficient ground for pushing Hamas and Fatah toward dialogue and an agreement. Israel only wants the worsening of the Palestinian situation in order to reiterate its own claims that there is no credible Palestinian partner to deal with for the peace process.

The meeting between Abbas and the leaders of Hamas took place over this matter. For this reason, Hamas should take the next step to resolve the said crisis.